Swisshand is specialized in Poverty Reduction Programmes. As experts confirm, a sustainable reduction in poverty is not possible without creating a steady income, and we fully concentrate on income generation for the active poor, which is our key competence. We want to show solidarity by giving hundreds of women/families the chance of overcoming poverty, year by year, in each of our partner regions. We endeavour to achieve this by starting or improving small business activities and giving repayable loans, combined with a short business empowerment training. Our experience in more than 80 programme regions, especially in Africa, brings us to the conclusion that persons, families and the whole community get more self-confidence and improve housing, health care and the use of educational opportunities after having started or extended their small business activities.
The most important elements of our programme support are:
— Transfer of know-how, step by step, during some months.
— Building up the loan fund of the programme region.
— Monitoring on the basis of quarterly reports.
In some countries, a national or regional women’s association is our programme partner, in others it is a local development NGO or small cooperative savings & credit unions. In some countries, partnerships have also been built up with diocesan development departments.
The main target regions are: eastern, central and western Africa; areas with inexistent or difficult access to microcredit.
Our partner institutions have to form a voluntary programme committee for the supervision of the programme and to recruit a (paid) programme coordinator (credit and training officer) for each programme area.
The programme coordinator of the programme region is responsible for information, the pre-selection of applicants, proposals to the programme committee, business training for the approved clients, loan disbursement, follow-up and repayment collection in the programme region and reporting.
Well managed institutions with office infrastructure, skilled in poverty reduction, with a base in one of the target regions and good links to poor communities can send their application with last annual report and financial statement to